Temporary geek den.

Last week my parents where having a loft clear out and my dad called me to see if I wanted an old 14″ CRT  TV before he took it to the recycle centre. Now usually, I wouldn’t bother with old TV’s when using my retro computers and consoles as I prefer the extra desk space you get when using a slim LCD TV. However, just lately, and especially at Retro Revival where I spent an awful long time in front of glass screens, I’m really digging the bright, slightly curved, glowing pixel look you don’t seem to get on a modern LCD screen.

So ‘yes please’ said I picked and it up last Friday.

I’ve got this week off work to start decorating our study and with everything packed away I’ve temporary set up a bit of a geek den in the garage. My desk, an off cut of wood that was left over from when I made my monitor bezel for the Mame cabinet, sits resting on one of my larger tool boxes. I’ve also found that one of my camping chairs is just the right height for it too.

The whole thing looks ridiculous and homebrew and I love it! I just need a bigger desk, get my solder station setup, maybe a tesla coil and an assistant probably called Igor……yup, that’ll be those paint fumes for earlier.

Last night I thought I’d use my dad’s TV to test out a couple of ZX Spectrum’s I’d picked up from eBay a few month back. Both were sold as untested and I managed to win them both for just £3.

The first seemed to be working o.k although the picture quality through RF was a little ropey (made much better after adjusting the Potts) and the keyboard bezel was a little scratched. The second has a better picture but many of the keys don’t seem to work. A quick look under the hood shows that part of the keyboard membrane is damaged and way to short to fit into the two slots. I suspect someone has been here before.

So swapping some of the bits around  I’ve got one looking clean and working perfectly and another, fitted with a better looking bezel from my spares box and working with dodgy (but now clean :-) ) keys. I’ve ordered a new keyboard membrane so hopefully this will bring it back to working condition again.

I wonder if Igor fancies a game of Manic a Miner?

Speccy Tetris!

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Retro Revival 2014.

Hello again, long time no post!

Last weekend I attended Retro Revival and a chance to indulge in two days of non stop retro gaming goodness and laughs with friends. It’s also my little rewards for all the replastering, sanding, mitring, levelling, grinding,  cutting, swearing, recutting, painting, polishing and swearing that’s kept me busy over the past few months.

We had such a great time as last years event and mini event held in December (see previous post – https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/retro-revival-2013/, ) and have been really looking forward to this one since the dates was announcement and the steady drip feed of show information went into overdrive these past few weeks.

Here’s some of the photo’s I’d taken between games.

 

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Walkthrough videos are starting to appear on Youtube, here’s one of the good ones

 

Event organisers Chris and Craig really nailed it with Retro Revival 2014. Here’s to the next one!

Speaking of next one, the second of this years huge retro gaming events Play:Expo is only a few months away. See you there?

 

 

 

 

All work makes Jack (well StiGGy really), miss his retro gaming. A fix is needed.

Work still continues on the house and with a week off work this week I’ve been putting in some serious hours to try and get this latest bit done – or at least the messy/heavy/laborious stuff done first. Sadly, game time (and blog posts) have kinda nose dived these past few weeks and I was even painting on my birthday (going for the sympathy vote here :-))

…but it’s all been fun stuff despite the mess and upheaval and bit by bit it’s all starting to take shape. On the plus side, all this DIY-ing has been a great excuse to wheedle some funds out of ‘the treasurer’ and some new and exciting power tools (also good for building custom arcade cabinets…ssh, mums the word!) My latest acquisition will have your arm off if you blink too long and is equipped with powerful lasers to blind you if don’t. It’s also got the word ‘Fury’ written on the box and I’m guessing the instructions might have mentioned Dolby 7.1, USB and a Flux Capacitor if I’d bothered to read them instead of chucking them in the bin along with the safety guards – only kidding!

No I’m not flippin you the bird, just waving hello with the only finger I’ve still got attached :-)

Testing it this afternoon springs to mind the continue screen from Ninja Gaiden/Shadow Warriors.

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I’ve decided that I’m definitely in need of a retro game fix (whilst I’ve still got thumbs eh?), and thanks once again to ‘The Treasurer’ for filling my pocket with a stash of 10 pence pieces, I’ve been enjoying some early classics on my MAME arcade machine.

As well as a hefty amount of Bomb Jack these past few evenings (so frustratingly good!), it’s Midway’s Rally X that I’ve been returning to time and time again in the hope of grabbing that ever elusive flag to beat my top score.

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Moving the directional restrictor plate on my joystick to limit controls from 8 to 4 way really made a difference with this game – highly recommended.

Speaking of Rally X, have you played the homebrew Atari 2600 port currently in development? I took it for a spin the other day and even though it’s still very much a work in progress, it’s looking verypromising. You can read all about it and pick up the current file for emulation/Harmony Cartridge here – http://atariage.com/forums/topic/218406-rally-wip/

Away from the arcade machine, I’ve also been messing around with the Nintendo Gameboy / Gameboy Advanced emulator for iOS that caused a lot of excitement when it was release being that you don’t have to iBrick your device to run it – Time travel helps though!

GBA4iOS http://gba4iosapp.com

The touch screen controls are o.k-ish I find, as long as things don’t get too intense onscreen but here’s hoping a future update will include iCade/8-bitty support.

One game in particular that’s got me hooked (and thankfully one that uses fewer buttons) is Pokemon Pinball. I’ve never played a Pokemon game in my life (they’re on my gaming to do list) so I have no idea what most of the games references are, but pinball is pinball and boy do I like my pinball….and Pokemon Pinball is most certainly a damn fine game…..of pinball.

Check out the faux GBA skin….probably the worst coloured model of them all but hey one does have the option to re-skin should one feel the need to crack open ones Photoshop.

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I’ve had so much much fun with this game I’ve actually purchased the original cartridge game via eBay which should be making its merry way to my GBA SP slot very soon.

Thanks to JT and his posts and photos regarding his new ultra cool Sharp X68000 computer I’ve been taking a little time out to explore this fascinating machine myself…emulated (win68k) at the moment but plans are afoot to woo The Treasurer into leaking more funds…..either that or I’ll she’ll dance with ‘fury’ :-)

I got my first hands on experience with a Sharp X68 last year at Play:Expo which had one parked next to a chic-let Commodore 116. I sat down to play Specticede on the 116 and I recall having a conversation with the chap next to me who was playing Slapfight on it to which we both agreed looked absolutely stunning considering it was running from just one floppy disk. Later on I had an amazing time thumbing through the disk box and picking out and playing even more perfect arcade ports. Take Final Fight for example, incredibly faithful to the original….and only on two floppy disks!

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It’s perfect timing as well, because the latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine features a look at some of the more obscure title on the X68000 and some would have been surely missed judging by their long Japanese names. Thumbs up RG!

So yeah, with that little fix, retro gamng zen is restored. If it drops out again, the first of this years Retro Computer Museum gaming weekend is just a month away!

Happy gaming.